HC Deb 05 July 1978 vol 953 cc604-6

"(1) In paragraph 10(3a) and (b) of Schedule 19 to the Finance Act 1969 (rollover relief for gain on part disposal of land where consideration does not exceed '£2,500') for '£2,500' there shall be substituted £10,000'.

(2)This section applies with respect to any disposal after 5th April 1978.".—[Mr. Denzil Davies.]

Brought up, and read the First time.

Mr. Denzil Davies

I beg to move, That the clause be read a Second time.

The new clause is the result of an amendment which was moved in Committee by the hon. Member for Westonsuper-Mare (Mr. Wiggin). It increases the roll-over exemption or relief for capital gains tax purposes which was set at £2,500 in 1965. It increases that sum to £10,000. It is not a complete exemption from tax but it is valuable both to the taxpayer and to the Revenue, not least because of the savings in administrative costs involved in making the calculation.

Mr. Wiggin

I adopted this course as a result of advice from the Scottish Landowners Federation which, over the years, has given helpful advice to hon Members on both sides of the House on some subtle matters.

The new clause recognises the change in values and allows a land owner selling a small piece of land for the widening of a road, the extension of a garden or the laying of a sewer pipe to delay payment of tax. It is a concession to inflation and represents administrative good sense. I welcome the new clause and I am grateful for the way in which the Government have accepted my suggestion.

10.30 p.m.

Mr. Peter Rees

There may be an element of monotony in my interventions this evening, but a pleasurable monotony, I hope, since I rise once again to congratulate my hon. Friend the Member for Weston-super-Mare (Mr. Wiggin). It was in response to New Clause No. 88, which he so ably moved in Committee, that the Minister of State has produced this new clause.

The House should note the Minister of State's point that this is a new clause which advantages the taxpayer and the Inland Revenue. I hope that there may be many more of those and that they will carry the support of the whole House. The Financial Secretary comments from a seated position. He injects a jarring note into our debates. He may be a little bruised by his experiences in our last debate. It would certainly be worth while for this Administration to go through the tax code to consider whether there is not a whole range of cases where, by raising the threshold and taking a considerable number of people and a considerable range of transactions out of tax, the burden of the Inland Revenue and the taxpayer may be lifted.

The relief here is even more generous than that which was foreshadowed by the Minister of State. It goes back to 5th April 1978 and not to 11th April. The Minister of State now looks a little startled, but I checked his speech in Committee. It is not often that I extend these unreserved congratulations to the Minister of State, but I congratulate him on this.

On new clause No. 32, however, should I be lucky enough to catch your eye, Mr. Deputy Speaker, I shall have occasion to remark that, alas, the same generosity is not to be found.

Mr. Wiggin

Will my hon. and learned Friend also acknowledge that these matters, when dealt with in this way, also consume a very brief period of parliamentary time?

Mr. Rees

It is not for me to observe that. It may be a matter for the Patronage Secretary and those who manage Government business. We might get through our debates on the Finance Bill with considerably greater speed if all clauses and provisions advantaged both taxpayer and Revenue. I suspect that that would tax unreasonably the ingenuity of the Government Front Bench. We could not expect that from there, certainly not from the Financial Secretary.

Mr. Denzil Davies

Perhaps I may explain why the clause goes back to 5th April 1978 whereas other new clauses do not. This roll-over relief applies to the whole year of assessment. It applies to all the gains within the year of assessment, and so the relief has to start from 5th April.

Question put and agreed to.

Clause read a Second time and added to the Bill.